Former Duke forward Mike Grella didn't get the playing time he might have hoped for in Sunday's FA Cup third round matchup with Manchester United, but his Leeds United teammates played the game of their lives to defeat the Red Devils on the road Sunday afternoon.
As The Chronicle's Sports Blog detailed yesterday, two of England's oldest and most storied rivals were meeting for the first time in six years. In the interim, Leeds experienced one of the most humbling falls from grace in recent sports history, while Manchester United cemented itself as one of the world's best clubs.
Sunday, none of that mattered. Leeds United's Jermaine Beckford scored in the 19th minute, and the Whites held on for over an hour to advance in the knockout competition, 1-0. Click here for a full game recap.
Unfortunately for Grella, Leeds's defensive approach for most of the game--the team was, after all, defending a single-goal lead against a club boasting all-world forward Wayne Rooney--meant he didn't get off the bench. In some sense, Beckford's presence on the field had already limited his playing time. English clubs routinely use cup competitions to try out younger players, but when the opponent is Manchester United, you put out your big guns, including Beckford, who has been linked with some Premier League teams.
Our congratulations go out to Leeds United for a George Mason-style upset, and best wishes to Grella as his team goes on in League One and the FA Cup.
The Whites take on Tottenham Hotspur, another of the English game's most famous (although not among the most successful) clubs, in the fourth round of the tournament, and we'll keep you updated on the team's and Grella's progress.